In a study published on 14 August 2018, researchers Eti Ben Simon and Matthew P Walker unveiled four interesting connections between sleep and loneliness. In this blog we examine the first two connections that their research unveiled.
Firstly, it appears that a lack of sleep makes people feel lonelier than they would if they had more sleep.
The study asked 140 people aged 18 – 24 years old to track their sleep and feelings over a few days. The researchers found that people who reported poor sleep from one night to the next also reported an increase in feelings of loneliness the next day, whilst those who got better sleep reported less loneliness. After one night of good sleep, the feelings of loneliness returned to normal.
Secondly, the people who interacted with the sleep-deprived person left the interaction feeling lonelier themselves.
The participants felt rejected by those displaying loneliness and it made them feel lonely too.
The researchers noted that there may be a “viral contagion of social isolation” linked to sleep loss. This means that loneliness is contagious and if somebody close to you is experiencing sleep loss as well as loneliness, then your mood will be impacted by it too.
Getting a good night’s sleep is good for you and those around you. Do it for your country- get to bed!
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Who wouldn’t want to get all of the benefits of a power nap? Just look at this list…
• Improved mood
• Increased alertness
• Fewer mistakes and accidents
• Better logic and memory
• Decreased sleepiness
• Faster task completion
However, to make the power nap part of your workday, you will need to do some experimenting to avoid the dreaded sleep inertia or grogginess that can accompany a poorly-timed power nap.
You will need to work out your ideal nap duration. A power nap is intended to be 10 – 30 minutes of light sleep that helps your brain to refuel. Do not exceed 30 minutes or you will have entered the realm of deep sleep and struggle to wake up and focus. See what works for you by trialing power naps of different intervals between 10 and 30 minutes duration.
You will also need to work out when to take your nap. If you are working and have a sleep debt from the night before, you should take your nap earlier in the day around 10am. If you have had a good night’s sleep, you should take your nap in the afternoon, some time between 2 and 4pm when the urge to sleep is the strongest. Power naps should not interfere with your bedtime, but assist with your daytime productivity.
Finding the right location is also essential. Where are you likely to find uninterrupted light sleep? It may be in your car, under your desk or beneath a tree. Taking your nap in the same place, at the same time each day will help train your brain to fall asleep quickly and help you get the most out of your power nap.